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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

International Women’s Day: Marketing Highlights

By Amy Greensmith, Emily Lavin, Leah Murphy, Georgia Rees and Annamária Rátki


​​Friday 8 March is International Women’s Day. This issue highlights the marketing campaigns for recent releases by female authors that centre on female characters. 


Inspired by a true story, Butter by Asako Yuzuki (Fourth Estate, 29 February) follows journalist Rika and her prison visits with gourmet cook and convicted serial killer, Manako Kaji. As the visits take on a more gastronomical focus, Rika is drawn further into Manako’s world.

 

Medea by Rosie Hewlett (Bantam, 21 March) focuses on the eponymous character’s dangerous talent for witchcraft and the arrival of the young hero set to steal her father’s Golden Fleece. Hewlett’s retelling is one of betrayal, magic and love, and will be perfect for all Greek mythology lovers.

 

Mongrel by Hanako Footman (Footnote, 8 February) focuses on three intertwining narratives told from the perspectives of Mei, Yuki and Haruka. With themes of desire and isolation, the overarching message is one of hope as these women fight to fit in and find their way.


Butter by Asako Yuzuki


Japanese fiction is an increasingly popular sector of the UK’s translated literature market, from Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police to Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. Now, the cult Japanese bestseller, Butter, can be added to the list. 


Fourth Estate acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights after a five-publisher auction in 2021, and have been keen to showcase the novel on their social media accounts. At the end of 2023, a book trailer was posted on Fourth Estate’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, introducing the book and flooding the platforms with the cover design. In the lead up to publication, the publisher’s Instagram featured a dedicated highlight for all posts, both by Fourth Estate and readers. 


Interestingly, the author is not currently scheduled for any promotional events. Moreover, Asako Yuzuki seems to be quite a private person; she does not have an account on social media platforms, nor does she have an author website. Despite this digital absence, the team at Fourth Estate have managed to create a lot of buzz, with the book featuring on a number of lists including ‘The Best Books to Look Out for in February’ on The Waterstones Blog


PR packages were sent out to book bloggers and reviewers at the end of 2023. The mailings included a proof copy of the book, as well as a bar of soap designed to look like a block of butter! A second round of book blogger mailings commenced in early February, with bloggers receiving a finished copy of the novel to review on their accounts. 


While Butter is available in most bookshops, Fourth Estate has partnered with Foyles to offer an exclusive signed edition. The bookshop also curated an eye-catching window display, featuring quotes from the book and reviews from fellow authors. 


Medea by Rosie Hewlett


Following the trend of feminist myth retellings, Medea by Rosie Hewlett is set to be published on 21 March 2024 and has been all over social media since it was announced seven months ago. Hewlett, who self-published her debut novel, Medusa, was picked up by Bantam Books for her upcoming release. Bantam have had a heavy hand in the online marketing for this campaign, with a dedicated ‘Medea Mondays’ highlight reel on their Instagram account where they repost any mention of the character Medea. They also ran a competition a month before publication to offer one lucky follower the chance to win an exclusive early proof copy.


However, much of the marketing and social media outreach has been done by Hewlett herself who has posted consistently about Medea since she first announced it back in July. Using word-of-mouth marketing, a team of dedicated Bookstagrammers and book bloggers were involved with the cover reveal and the subsequent unveiling of the Waterstones exclusive edition. As a result, Medea has been a constant presence across bookish social media channels for a long time, with each review and tantalising snap of the gorgeous PR packages adding to the hype.


Hewlett will be going on tour just after publication, popping into several Waterstones stores and chatting with some other well-established mythology authors, including Bea Fitzgerald in Piccadilly, Phoenicia Rogerson in Leeds, Laura Shepperson in Canterbury and Jennifer Saint and Clare North in Cardiff.


Mongrel by Hanako Footman


Mongrel by Hanako Footman has been touted as “the most captivating debut of 2024.” Footman’s novel tells an intergenerational story of three women living in Britain and Japan. Their intertwined narratives ultimately reveal “a tangled web of isolation, yearning, love, and ultimately, hope.” 


Mongrel is published by exciting new publishers, Footnote. This publishing house, founded in 2022, aims to platform voices that have been previously marginalised by the industry. The team at Footnote have crafted an impressive marketing campaign for Footman’s debut novel, including a strong social media campaign and various book events. 


Ever since the novel was first announced, the marketing team at Footnote have promoted Mongrel widely across their Twitter and Instagram pages. To bolster the publisher’s social media campaign, Footman has made use of her personal Instagram account to promote her novel’s release date, pre-order link and cover art. This is an excellent marketing technique as it not only gives readers insight into an author’s life but also creates further buzz for a much-anticipated debut. 


Footman has spoken at a number of events as part of the wider marketing campaign for Mongrel. In February, she participated in a Q&A in Waterstones Trafalgar Square that was hosted by Ella King, the award-winning author of Bad Fruit, alongside Ela Lee, the author of the acclaimed debut, Jaded.

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